From A.M. New York, October 29, 2007, P. 3, "[Mayor] Mike's Overlooked Plans - Congestion pricing only one part of mayor's 2030 agenda" by David Friedlander
This majestic 19th century East Harlem schoolhouse, vacant since the late 1990s, is at the center of an acrimonious dispute between a group that wants to see it converted into housing for artists and a coalition that wants to see it restored as a school.
"There is such a need for this," said Shawn Patrick McLearan of Artspace, which is spearheading the housing effort. "There is a phenomenal cultural history here that we are trying to protect by putting the cultural infrastructure in place."
Their plan would bring 62 units of affordable housing and a large community space.
The Department of Education has said that making it a school again isn't feasible and most local elected officials agree. That hasn't stopped activist Gwen Goodwin from waging a campaign to restore the school to its previous use.
"Keeping P.S. 109 a school is the only fair, equitable and logical thing to do," she said. "There is such overcrowding in the city ... I will not quit until we have kids sitting in P.S. 109."
P.S. 109 is set to open as artist's housing in 2009.